Visited Swapna’s house on her husband’s invite: Sivasankar

Even though Swapna Suresh, the main accused in the Trivandrum Airport gold smuggling case, is the wife of a relative, he got to know her in her ofcial capacity as an ofcial of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, Sivasankar told the NIA.

He had made the same statement to Customs ofcials also when they interrogated him a few days ago. Sivasankar replied in the negative when he was asked if anyone connected with the ruling coalition in the state had recommended Swapna for appointment in the Space Park under the IT department when he was the principal secretary of the department. He, however, did not give a clear answer when asked if he had intervened in her appointment.

Sivasankar was removed as the principal secretary to the Chief Minister and as principal secretary of the IT department after it emerged that he knew Swapna and some other accused in the smuggling case, including PS Sarith Kumar, the first accused.

“I don’t know KT Ramees, Faisal Fareed and the other accused in the gold smuggling case,” Sivasankar told investigators. “I was not aware of their gold smuggling dealings with Swapna. I never accepted their hospitality either at home or abroad,” he said in his statement. Sivasankar said he had visited Swapna’s house only when her husband had invited her.

Investigating agencies consider Ramees to be the brain behind the smuggling operations through th diplomatic route that was busted at the Trivandrum Airport on July 5.

Fareed, a native of Kodungallur in Thrissur who has been living in Dubai, is said to have arranged for the gold that was smuggled into Kerala from the UAE. He has been arrested by the UAE authorities and is likely to be extradited to India.

Sivasankar said he had helped arrange the Thiruvananthapuram at on rent for the gang on the request of Swapna’s husband. “He said he wanted to rent a at to stay for a few days as their house needed some maintenance work,” Sivasankar said.

According to the investigation team, the gang had used the at near the state secretariat to hatch their gold smuggling conspiracies.

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